You Rock My World

Michael Jackson changed my life. Seriously. In all his freakishness, the man helped me bridge my adolescent confusion about music, life, race, and humanity. I idolized him as a kid– somewhere I still have the dangling MJ earrings that I prized. And for a few years from about 9 – 11 I think my hair styles pretty much mirrored his metamorphosis from black man to white woman. Even in death, his legacy continues to influence how I see the world. We are inherently imperfect and no one demonstrated that more than MJ. It’s almost impossible to characterize the pure joy he brought to the world through his music and dancing. The day after he passed away I was stuck on a seemingly endless train ride from BOS to PHL and I escaped from the business traveler hell by listening to Off the Wall:

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five up on the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
Groove, let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain’t so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain’t so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)

You can shout out all you want to
‘Cause there ain’t no sin in folks all getting loud
If you take the chance and do it
Then there ain’t no one who’s gonna put you down
‘Cause we’re the party people night and day
Livin’ crazy that’s the only way

Pure joy! This song should be my anthem! And, right now, sitting at my desk trying to keep my eyes open on a slow Wednesday afternoon, just listening to the opening beats of “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” was enough to get me snapping my shoulders back and tapping my foot under my desk like an epileptic trying to control a seizure. I can’t imagine what the people in the building across the street think when they see me breaking down in my cube through the window. Actually, I can imagine: they wanna rock with me.

But that’s not all. Michael’s untimely death didn’t just make me nostalgic for the days of Thriller, it subjected me, like millions of others around the globe, to the 24/7 cycle of tributes, gossip, and news. And, out of that came my new appreciation of Off The Wall AND introduced me to music from his albums I missed when Michael lost me to Pearl Jam, Nirvana and U2 in the early 90s. Invincible is an incredible album. Actually, I think it was a couple years before it’s time. It’s holds it’s own against the catchy pop/dance songs being churned out by Justin, Britney and Rhianna today. “You Rock My World” just won’t get out of my head. (BTW, the video with Chris Tucker is one of Michael’s best.)

So, of course, you’re wondering: What’s your favorite Michael Jackson song? I certainly don’t have just one. And, I can’t even get into Jackson 5 songs in this post. I’ll save that for another day. As of today, these are my favorites. The ones that lift me from fits of despair, instill hope, inspire brilliance and just make me happy:


Rock With You

Human Nature

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

You Rock My World

Off The Wall


Go directly to iTunes and have a listen. It will make your day. “‘Cause we’re the party people night and day. Living crazy that’s the only way.”

One Response

  1. I like Smooth Criminal. The Thriller album though is great.

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